This years NAIDOC theme has strongly resonated with our Aboriginal Community and everyone connected to Mawarnkarra Health Service. “Because of Her, We Can”. It is because of our mothers and grandmothers that we can stand up proudly to protect; advocate for; and look after our families.

I have proudly been connected to Mawarnkarra Health Service on a family level for 28 years; and on a personal level as a Member and Director for 6 years. It is because of my mother, Joan Hicks, that I have had access to opportunities that have taken me on a different journey to others in my Community. This journey took me away from my home for 12 years, including university in Perth; and working in places like the Kimberley region; and Southern Queensland. My greatest sacrifice has been leaving my home and family to pursue further education and a career. I don’t know how I was able to stay on that journey because many times, I just wanted to come home. But I had a strong role model in my mother who supported me to finish university; then travel for work. My mother values education and because of her, I have a commitment to learning. It is because of my mother, that I was able to complete a Bachelor of Laws from UWA. It is because of my mother, that I have completed further education in Leadership; Management; and Business. It is because of my mother, that I became a business owner/ operator at the age of 30.

My grandmothers generation; and the generations before her, did not have the opportunities that I enjoy today. In my journey, I always remind myself of the way that they paved for myself and my mother. From my grandmother, Judy, I inherit resilience and fight. It is this resilience and fight that I draw on to advocate and stand up for those that don’t feel they have a voice. Because of my mother and my grandmother, I can stand up for others, and I can hold those with responsibility for others, to account.

Since joining the Board of Mawarnkarra Health Service in 2013, I have been part of an organisation that is the most important organisation to our Community and families. I have had the privilege of advocating for better health and wellbeing for our families. I have done this, with my mother right be my side. My mother is the Chief Executive Officer of Mawarnkarra Health Service, and it is Because of Her leadership, that Mawarnkarra has become one of the strongest and most successful Aboriginal Health Services in Australia. This is supported by the many Health Practitioners and Specialists that have worked at Mawarnkarra since Mum took on the CEO position.

To my mother, thank you for all that you do for your family; Community; and others. You don’t just talk about change. You make change. It is because of you Mum, that many of us can dream to be a CEO of an organisation in our own Community.

Jolleen Hicks
Director, Mawarnkarra Health Service
16 July 2018.

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